The AR.IO Testnet


We are excited to announce the launch of the ar.io testnet! The testnet is the next milestone in development of the ar.io network following up on last month’s open source announcement. During this phase, we invite all interested community members to boot up a gateway and join them to the gateway registry so that we can begin to test the benefits and features of networked ar.io gateways at scale. The testnet will take a phased approach, starting with a strong foundation and building up new features as it progresses. The first major goal of the testnet is the introduction of the Gateway Address Registry, the GAR (more on that below).

Testnet Overview

The AR.IO Tesnet aims to support the development of a robust, decentralized network of gateways that will serve as the backbone of the permaweb. By offering IO token incentives, we seek to attract passionate, committed, and capable operators who are willing to contribute to the long-term success of the network. Participants in the program will be empowered to operate a gateway in whatever way they see fit for their use-case as long as it complies with network standards and expected quality of service.

  1. Set up your gatewayStep 1

    Head over to ar.io docs and learn how to get started with your gateway.
    Note that you will also need a DNS domain to assign to your gateway.

    Read Docs
  2. Get a walletStep 2

    Bring an existing wallet or create a new one using third-party services like ArConnect, arweave.app, or the ArDrive CLI.
    Note that you will need a small amount of $AR in the wallet for transaction fees.

    Create Wallet
  3. Submit an applicationStep 3

    Come to the #testnet Channel in the AR.IO Discord to complete your application for TEST tokens so that you can stake them to join the network. To start an application, simply type: /apply and select Application to join the ar.io testnet!
    Note that your gateway must be live and verifiable before this step.

    Get Tokens
  4. Join the networkStep 4

    Run join-network script to join your gateway to the network / GAR.

    Join Network
  5. Follow alongStep 5

    Congrats, you've joined the network! Subscribe to the newsletter and stay tuned in Discord for the latest network developments and forthcoming incentive opportunities.


What is the GAR?

The Gateway Address Registry (GAR) is a decentralized registry hosted on the AR.IO SmartWeave Contract. It serves as the authoritative catalog of all gateway operators participating in the AR.IO Network. Put another way, the AR.IO Network consists of the gateways that are registered in the GAR. The GAR contains essential metadata about each gateway, including its stake, IP address, and services offered. It is designed to be easily queryable, sortable, and filterable, providing end users and clients with the flexibility to make tailored choices based on their specific needs.

Why are we testing it?

Testing the GAR is crucial for several reasons.

  • Ensure reliability: To ensure that the registry is stable and can handle various types of queries and transactions.
  • Validate data integrity: To validate that the information provided by gateway operators is accurate, up-to-date, and immutable unless changed by authorized parties.
  • Assess user experience: To assess how effectively applications and users can sort, filter, and query the list to find gateways that best suit their needs.
  • Review security: To identify and fix any vulnerabilities that could compromise the safety of the staked assets or the privacy of the users.
  • Gauge scalability: To gauge the system's capability to accommodate an increasing number of gateway operators and end users while maintaining performance.

By rigorously testing the GAR, we aim to optimize its functionality, reliability, and security, ensuring it meets the needs and expectations of both gateway operators and end users in the AR.IO Network.

What are the incentives?

The testnet program offers a range of incentives to encourage participation and contribution to the development of the ar.io network.

  • IO Token Rewards: Specific incentive amounts will vary based on participation levels. While the exact amounts will not be disclosed at this time, contributors can expect to be airdropped IO Tokens based on their contributions once the network and token are officially launched into production.
  • Special Discord Role: Participants will receive an exclusive role on the ar.io Discord server. This role will not grant any special privileges, but it looks cool.
  • Community Recognition: High-performing participants may also be highlighted in community updates, offering additional visibility within the ar.io and Arweave ecosystems.
  • Eligibility for Future Rewards: As the testnet develops, additional incentive programs will be created to reward participation in various other testing and data gathering initiatives.

By participating in the testnet, you’re not only contributing to the robustness and efficacy of the ar.io network, but also standing to gain both immediate and long-term rewards for your commitment and expertise.

Who is eligibile?

The testnet program is seeking users who are dedicated to growing and building on the ar.io and Arweave ecosystems. Anyone interested in operating a gateway is eligible to participate provided that their gateway meets the initial criteria to join the network as indicated above.

What are the technical requirements?

The following are the recommended minimum technical specifications; however, as network nodes are designed to be modular and scalar, we encourage experimentation with all different system types and sizes.


  • 4 core CPU, 16GB RAM and SSD with at least 500GB available.
  • AR.IO nodes can be stood up on a range of equipment / platforms and we encourage experimentation.


  • Linux (Ubuntu specifically) is highly recommended.
  • Support will be available for Mac OS; however, performance may not be optimal.
  • At this time, the team will not be able to provide support for Windows – but – anyone is able to give it a shot!

Connectivity / Network:

  • Ideally, each participant provides a single public facing IP address and port (default 3000).
  • A domain with wildcard DNS support.

What are the overall testnet goals?

  • To create the first instance of a gateway network on Arweave.

  • To test network functions such as:
    • Staking tokens to join the network
    • Unstaking tokens to leave the network
    • Adjusting gateway settings.

  • Introduce the GAR to the ecosystem and experiment with novel use cases such as:
    • Integrating gateway selectors into applications and wallets
    • Gateway discovery and visibility
    • Application to the ar:// URI protocol

  • To lay the foundation for testing future features and protocols such as:
    • Gateway health observation
    • Fetching data from peers
    • Data sharing prioritization
    • Token reward and incentive distributions